Acute Health Care: Update on New Interpretation of Overtime Language

Good afternoon,

The NSHA and IWK have recently decided to change their interpretation of overtime language to all four acute care bargaining units (Health Care, Support Services, Administrative Professionals and Nursing).

As we have stated in past communications, this interpretation is not a result of negotiations and at no time has the NSGEU agreed with it.

We would like to reiterate that each of you as individuals have a choice. You have the right to refuse overtime where you do not believe you are being compensated properly, and are therefore free to refuse overtime shifts and to tell your manager that you don’t accept working these shifts because it isn’t worth it to you to work beyond your scheduled hours at straight time. Remember these hours are yours: if you choose to work, that’s extra time away from your family and friends.

We are doing our best to convince the employer to reverse their position on this issue and revert to their past interpretation of the overtime language in your collective agreement. We believe that both employers are feeling the pressure that many of you are exerting by choosing to refuse overtime shifts.

Since President MacLean raised this issue with Minister of Labour Relations Mark Furey and the Minister of Health and Wellness Randy Delorey a few weeks ago, NSGEU representatives have met with the NSHA to discuss the issue. During this meeting, we made it very clear that health care workers are feeling undervalued by their employer, and that the OT changes are making things worse.

Another meeting is scheduled to take place with IWK employer representatives at the end of the month. The Council of Unions (NSGEU, NSNU, Unifor and CUPE) will also be meeting again to discuss our position on the issue.

We understand that all of our members working in the acute health care system are working under very difficult circumstances. We appreciate all of your hard work.

If you have further questions or concerns about this matter, please contact us. Keep an eye on your email for further updates from us on this important issue.

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